We caught up with the pop and R&B singer Ayelle, to discuss her latest single ‘Fast Life‘ from her upcoming project titled ‘Nomad’. We also touched on how she might be psychic, how she’s a nomad in every aspect of the word and what she’s doing to blow off steam during the quarantine.
Tomi: Listening to the lyrics in your new single ‘Fast Life’, I want to ask are you psychic? All of us around the globe right now, have had to slow down in a fast world.
Ayelle: I know, it’s so crazy [laughs]. I might be a little bit psychic because this happens a lot with my songs. But usually, it’s more personal, I’ll write a song about something and I’m like, this is weird as this is not really how I’m feeling right now but it resonates for some reason. Then a few months later, I’ll be in that exact situation that I wrote about a few months earlier. I’ve written the song I need to hear at that time.
T: With life being a lot slower, what parts of your life have you given much more attention to now that you weren’t able to before?
A: I’m focusing on my inner growth, reassessing what’s important in my life and where I’ve been putting my energy. Also coming back to the source of why I make music because I think that in the music industry it’s so easy to get caught up in chasing these different goals. Sometimes your vision becomes a bit clouded as in why are you doing this? It’s really forced me to take a look at what I’m doing, what I enjoy and which parts I don’t enjoy so I can reassess how I’m spending my time.
T: Let’s talk about your upcoming project ‘Nomad’, how long did it take you to piece the whole project together?
A: About two years, I’ve just been writing hundreds of hundreds of different songs and these songs are the ones I feel are really representative of some part of my journey. They reflect my growth and the parts that I’m still healing as well. I’ve been travelling a lot for the past two years and all of that has fast-forwarded a lot of growth for me.
T: In true nomad fashion, did you work on the project in different locations?
A: Yes, absolutely! Most of the songs were recorded between New York, London and Stockholm. The inspiration is from so many different places that I visited over the past two years, I went to Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali, Texas and LA. I grew up in-between Valencia and Stockholm so Valencia has been a big influence as well. Parts of the story are from all of these different places and experiences that I have picked up along the way.
T: You moved around a lot growing up, what place currently feels like home?
A: You know what, that’s the weirdest thing, I truly feel like I do not have a home. Which is why I feel that nomad is the right name for this project because in a sense, I have been on search for somewhere that I could potentially call home. But I’ve realized that the thing that stimulates me and excites me about life is having it be this open-ended, vast uncertainty in front of me. Even though that scares me, it also encourages me to grow and explore more parts of myself. Also I connect to the fact that my paternal grandparents are Iranian and from a tribe called the Qashqai so they’re from a nomadic tribe and I’ve always resonated with that.
T: When they let us back outside again, what are you looking forward to doing in Brooklyn?
A: I’m actually going to be moving to LA but keeping my place here so I’ll be bicoastal. I’m really looking forward to having the best of both worlds. The thing I love about New York is the social aspect and the very moment I got here, I found it so easy to connect with people. I feel there’s a lot of room for self expression and individuality in New York and especially in Brooklyn. I feel so at home, there are so many creatives and people that are just making art for the sake of making art.
T: What do you miss most about being on the road?
A: I miss learning about new cultures, there’s something about going from place to place and being confronted with a completely new reality. It makes everything look so fresh and really forces you into the moment. When you’re in the same place and stuck in a routine, you stop noticing your surroundings but when you’re on the move, you see things in a fresh light.
T: What are you currently doing to blow off steam?
A: I’ve been doing workouts from home which have been super helpful, I have a huge resistance towards it because it’s so difficult to get off the couch. But everytime I workout, I feel so much better and it makes me feel amazing for the rest of the day. I’m reading a lot, I’m currently reading this Spanish book called ‘La Fruta del Borrachero’ by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. Another one in English that I just finished is ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight which is about how he started Nike. Ooh and ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover, it’s about this girl from Idaho who grew up in a Mormon family and isn’t allowed to go to school so she educates herself to a level where she eventually goes to Harvard.
T: What is signature Ayelle?
A: Vulnerability is a big one for me because I put every aspect of myself on display in my songs, it’s really a therapeutic practice for me. I try to keep it honest and I want to encourage people to feel their feelings more without any barriers or shame.
Ayelle’s forthcoming ‘NOMAD’ mixtape can be presaved here. (Out Friday 15th May)